Round Nine 2014

 ROUND NINE:   Saturday 28 June
***   Scroll down for images from Masons Lane this afternoon   ***

An icy blast sweeping the state was not terribly pleasant for man nor beast, although it was hardly enough to deter our stoic club players as they turned out for another round of fascinating contests that – at most levels - has opened up the competition even further with just seven rounds to play.

Undefeated after ten, triple reigning premier Guild continues to set the pace in A Grade ahead of Bellarine – which has edged into second on head to head advantage ahead of Ballarat, which lowered its colours to Deakin (now fifth and not too far adrift of the leading group).

Consolidating in fourth, Lara had an important win over Bacchus Marsh - which has slipped marginally to sixth but appears to have a reasonably favourable draw compared with some – while East Belmont Saints is still a slim chance of making the playoffs despite facing a tough schedule.   

While Werribee and Corio are out of finals contention, the Giants are building towards their summer season – and could be a surprise packet at any time – while the Tigers produced a refreshingly lively performance against the Bears that is hopefully a sign of better times to come in the very near future.  

GUILD 6 defeated SAINTS 1

The Lions capped off a huge day at the stadium – albeit in difficult conditions – with a comfortable win under lights in a truncated contest against East Belmont Saints.

Struggling to deal with the damp and icy conditions, Saints starter Sean Talbot was immediately under the pump in the bottom of the first, when the Lions cashed in unceremoniously to drive six across the plate for a lead that was comfortably protected by winning pitcher Lee Harty and closer Brad Egan.

Although Jordan Isbister did a superb job in holding the Lions offence after the initial onslaught – after earlier driving in his side’s only run – the East Belmont offence was well held to the tune of two hits, while Harty (two) headlined the Guild hitting that again featured Harry Levy among its most productive with a couple of ribbies.

Undefeated after ten, Guild will make the trek to Ballarat next Saturday, while seventh-placed Saints have dropped off the pace and will be desperate for a home-ground win against Bellarine to keep their fading finals aspirations alive.

SAINTS 0 1 0 0  (1)  3 errors
GUILD 6 0 0 0  (6)  1 error
Saints: J.Lee, J.Isbister
Guild: L.Harty 2, J.Durston, C.Durston, H.Levy, J.Smyth
Saints: J.Isbister
Guild: H.Levy 2, C.Durston, L.Harty, J.Smyth
Saints: S.Talbot 0.2 inn, 3 H, 0 Ks, 3 BB, 5 ER
  E.Rickard 0.1 inn, 0 H, 0 Ks, 0 BB, 0 ER
  J.Isbister 2.1 inn, 3 H, 1 K, 1 BB, 0 ER
Guild: L.Harty 3 inn, 2 H, 2 Ks, 2 BB, 1 ER
  B.Egan 1 inn, 0 H, 2 Ks, 0 BB, 0 ER
BELLARINE 9 defeated CORIO 6

Bellarine has edged into second placing on head-to-head advantage with a hard-fought win over a Corio outfit that almost doubled its season run tally in one chilly afternoon.

While starter Joel Hughes (Corio) and Josh Crotty held scores in check early, the Bears exploded with four in the fourth only to be pegged back as the Tigers responded in the next – compliments in part of some ragged Bellarine offence.

Tossing six innings for the Bears for just one earned run, Crotty conceded fourteen hits - Blake Witham, Garry Kevelham and Adam Flowers being the standouts with three each.

But while the opportunities were there for an upset Corio win – its first of the season – ten walks and three HPBs were costly against a Bears offence that had multiple hitters in Brad McKentish, Jon Lowe, Lyndon Hockey and Zac Buhrmann.

No doubt buoyed by its improved showing in offence, the Tigers will approach next Saturday’s home clash against Bacchus Marsh with a degree of confidence, while Bellarine – away - will be looking to consolidate in second when they take on Saints.

BELLARINE 0 1 1 4 1 2 0  (9)  2 errors
CORIO 0 1 0 0 4 0 1  (6)  2 errors
Bellarine: B.McKentish 2, J.Lowe 2, L.Hockey 2, Z.Buhrmann 2, S.Murry, C.Barker, J.Crotty
Corio: B.Witham 3, G.Kevelham 3, A.Flowers 3, P.Brackley 2, J.Hughes, D.Kinnard, A.Fielden, S.Wise
Bellarine: B.McKentish 2, L.Hockey 2, J.Crotty 2, W.Visser, Z.Buhrmann
Corio: G.Kevelham, K.Willmott, P.Brackley, A.Flowers, S.Wise
Bellarine: J.Crotty 6 inn, 14 H, 2 Ks, 2 BB, 1 HPB, 1 ER
  S.Murry 1 inn, 0 H, 1 K, 0 BB, 0 ER
Corio: J.Hughes 4.2 inn, 8 H, 3 Ks, 10 BB, 3 HPB, 6 ER
  S.Brackley 2.1 inn, 3 H, 3 Ks, 0 BB, 0 HPB, 1 ER
DEAKIN 6 defeated BALLARAT 2

Deakin edged closer to the leading group with what was something of an upset given the shellacking that was meted out to the Blues at Prince of Wales Reserve in the opening round.

With Rory Meddick whiffing seven over five innings of work, the Brewers plated a pair in the third and appeared on track for an eighth win before a remarkable transformation that saw the game turned on its head in the bottom of six, when an offensive assault on reliever Adam Irons conspired with some ragged Brewers defence to produce five Deakin runs – four of those unearned – and a winning break that was defended by a superb closing stint from Kelii Zablan.

While the defensive lapse was damaging to the Brew Crew, they matched the Blues with ten hits apiece as both clubs created scoring opportunities.

Meddick (three hits and an RBI), Ryan Evans (two hits) and Dan Hamilton (two hits) showed the way in offence for the Brewers, while catcher Cameron Gibbons posted a couple of knocks in a Deakin effort that saw six players drive in runs for their club – among those being greybeard Glenn Morris, who celebrated game number 300 in the most satisfying manner.

With a win.

Dropping to third, the Brewers face another tough assignment next week – at home to Guild – while Deakin, now fifth, has the A Grade bye.

BALLARAT 0 0 2 0 0 0 0  (2)  2 errors
DEAKIN 0 0 0 1 0 5 0  (6)  1 error
Ballarat: R.Meddick 3, R.Evans 2, D.Hamilton 2, L.Karslake, A.Irons, L.Ashmore
Deakin: C.Gibbons 2, C.Webb, K.Zablan, N.Warren, M.Rigby, G.Morris, A.Ham, R.Hickey, D.Eales
Ballarat: A.Irons, R.Meddick
Deakin: W.Balzer, C.Webb, K.Zablan, N.Warren, G.Morris, D.Eales
Ballarat: R.Meddick 5 inn, 4 H, 7 Ks, 2 BB, 0 ER
  A.Irons 1 inn, 6 H, 0 Ks, 1 BB, 1 ER
  D.Hamilton 1 inn, 0 H, 1 K, 1 BB, 0 ER
Deakin: C.Webb 5.2 inn, 10 H, 3 Ks, 2 BB, 2 ER
  K.Zablan 1.1 inn, 0 H, 3 Ks, 0 BB, 0 ER
LARA 11 defeated BACCHUS MARSH 2

In the context of the season, it was a massive game for both clubs, who went into the contest sharing fourth placing but with the Wildcats holding a head-to-head advantage from a narrow win in the opening round.

While both sides were held scoreless through the first two innings, the Wildcats had placed Bacchus starter Roland Shaw under considerable pressure, drawing a couple of passes in the first and bloating his pitch count into the top of three, when the game changed complexion dramatically.

Back-to-back hits, a walk and a defensive error gleaned three runs before the Wildcats again loaded the bases and set the table for starter Daniel Anson – who delivered big time with a game-breaking two-out salami over the leftfield wall.

Although the Tigers scrambled a run in the fourth, the Lara offence was relentless as the Marsh went to Tayler Rowe and Jarrod Norquay on the hill, while Anson completed a solid five innings before Ben Hammer and Ross Wilson chimed in for an innings apiece with the game well won.   

LARA 0 0 7 0 2 2 0  (11)  0 errors
BACCHUS 0 0 0 1 0 1 0   (2)  2 errors
Lara: R.Wilson 3, S.Baumann 2, B.Hammer 2, D.Anson 2 (inc grand slam home run), S.Forbes, C.Forbes, C.Mason, J.Ricketts, L.Arandt
Bacchus: J.Norquay 2, J.Warwick 2, S.Hornstra, R.Shaw, M.Afu
Lara: D.Anson 4, C.Mason 2, S.Baumann, B.Hammer, C.Forbes, R.Wilson, L.Arandt
Bacchus: S.Hornstra, J.Norquay
Lara: D.Anson 5 inn, 3 H, 1 K, 2 BB, 1 ER
  B.Hammer 1 inn, 2 H, 2 Ks, 2 BB, 1 ER
  R.Wilson 1 inn, 2 H, 0 Ks, 0 BB, 0 ER
Bacchus: R.Shaw 2.2 inn, 4 H, 1 K, 3 BB, 1 HPB, 7 ER
  E.Byrne 0.1 inn, 0 H, 0 Ks, 0 BB, 0 ER
  T.Rowe 3 inn, 9 H, 3 Ks, 1 BB, 4 ER
  J.Norquay 1 inn, 1 H, 1 K, 0 BB, 0 ER
WERRIBEE had the A Grade bye this week